For most of us teachers, the month of May might finally seem like light at the end of a long dark tunnel filled with exam scores and piles of documentation. Yes, it’s finally the end of one more academic year, and the idea of a few blissful, entirely student-free weeks suddenly seems more real than ever!
We’ve been talking a lot about teacher well-being, teacher self-care, and the idea that being a teacher is only a part of our identity. Teaching can be stressful to say the least. And having a hobby or other interests outside the classroom can not only help us unwind, but also become more curious and excited individuals who can bring that excitement back while teaching. So this summer, here are a few ideas for you to tap into your inner creative being!
Start a “Teacher-gram” — an Instagram page dedicated to your experiences, tips, and ideas as a teacher!
There are at least thousands of teachers all over the world who use social media to share their ideas for lessons, connect with each other and learn from each other. It’s a wonderful platform that allows you to be playful and creative!
Start by coming up with your own unique username. Look up other teacher accounts for content inspiration. Free tools like Canva make it super easy to design posts. Why not challenge yourself to think like a designer and make your page not only interesting, but also pretty to look at!
2. Create a podcast on Spotify — on absolutely any topic you enjoy.
You could invite fellow teachers or other guests and have a free flowing conversation. Or you could record yourself talking and sharing your thoughts, ideas or recommendations. You don’t need fancy equipment, just a regular phone or even a Zoom recording works. If you’re feeling really bold, you could even record a video and post it on YouTube! There are no rules and who knows, you may collect a few fans!
3. Start a club with a friend or two — an afternoon dedicated to a common interest.
For those of you who are looking to get hands on or connect with other people, how about starting a book club? Or a film critics club. Or gardening, or cooking or painting! Even if it is just a one time or two time meeting, you could plan a fun day based around a theme. Or start a WhatsApp group where all members frequently post reviews, pictures of their art work or samples of their writing.
4. Practice “stream of consciousness” writing
Stream of consciousness writing is a way of writing down your thoughts about something in an unstructured, unedited way. This method’s purpose is to allow these thoughts to pass through without any inhibitors. It’s quite literally capturing the “stream” of your consciousness.
Writing in this way is a great way to get out of a creative rut or mental blocks — allowing your mind to flow without limits. It frees us from the expectation that what we produce has to fall within some rules or standards. So it’s a wonderful creative outlet! In fact it’s used by many fiction writers and script writers to get out of their writer’s blocks.
The truth is, we don’t need to have a high level of artistic talent, or a special affinity for something in order to lead creatively fulfilling lives.
Whatever you put out doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good! The most important thing is for you to experience the joy of creating something, and just have fun with it! It will do wonders to keep your spirits up throughout the year, and you will without a doubt inspire your students to express their own creative selves.